Organic Milk Not as Advertised

Although organic milk suggests a higher level of purity and holism than the other sort, all is not as it seems.

In "An Organic Cash Cow" (Nov. 9, 2005), the New York Times reported that "choosing organic milk doesn't guarantee much beyond this: It comes from a cow whose milk production was not prompted by an artificial growth hormone, whose feed was not grown with pesticides and which had 'access to pasture,' a term so vague it could mean that a cow might spend most of its milk-producing life confined to a feed lot eating grain and not grass."

Organic milk is more expensive than regular milk, and the label does not guarantee what the cow has eaten, does not ensure that the cow has had a joyful existence or was treated with respect, and does not certify that the cow has never been treated with antibiotics.

All in all, according to the article, organic is a label leaving much to be desired.

And, as to whether ahimsa--non-violence--was followed, and the animal treated consistent with the bioethical value of species impartiality--the label is silent. Some say 'a half a loaf is better than no loaf,' and argue that a little progress is better than fully fleshing out what we mean by ethical, humane treatment of animal companions and assuring the purity of products derived from their labors.